- This article is part of Ardai.
History[edit | edit source]
The Kingdom of Tauam was founded by the semi-legendary Razak Gogu, progenitor of a great dynasty. In later annals of Tauam, he is known as the "god of fire". Around 800, a descendant of Razak, Ouah united Tauam and led the first wave of colonization to other islands. He built a fortress at the site that would become Tauam-po. The elder priests of Tauam bestowed upon Ouah the honorifics "the Wise" and "King of the Blue Sea".
Ouah was succeeded in 830 by Tahu, his younger son who was set to become a priest until the untimely death of his older brother, Crown Prince Munru, a year prior. Tahu took up his duties as king with zeal, and used his religious education to create the first written Tauamese alphabet and writing system. This system, utilizing a pictographic style, was initially used only for official trade and record-keeping, but by the end of the 12th century it was being taught in schools and became widespread among the population of the island. Most of what we know about the Tauam Kingdom in this period comes from writings in Tahu's script. Tahu died on June 28, 838, at the age of 44, during a battle near Mano Island against a hostile tribe. The battle was primarily fought with canoes, and Tahu succumbed to the effects of a poison arrow. An alternate account ascribes the cause of his death to "several weeks of illness", and adds that he was "buried during a feast". It is possible that both accounts are correct, and that the poison simply did not kill him immediately. Whatever the case, Tahu was buried on Mount Mambun along with 16 of his fallen comrades. The inscription on his gravestone reads "Hero" in Tauamese script.
Princess Nawa, who was Tahu's sister, was elected queen upon Tahu's death. She assumed the throne on January 26, 839. By that date, Nawa was already a renowned and powerful woman, recognized for her bravery and martial achievement in the ongoing Ikeu-kau War of 837-840. However, one of her lieutenants betrayed her and attempted to seize the throne for himself. Nawa fled the capital and sought refuge at Mungo Castle, where she stayed for several months. There she made preparations for war, aided by Prince Hapi, his wife and several other noblemen. Nawa was able to obtain considerable funds (thanks to Prince Hapi) and assemble a powerful army. Taking advantage of a military junta distracted by other conflicts, Nawa stormed the gates of Tauam-po in March 839 and swiftly recaptured the city. The traitors were taken prisoner and their leaders were executed.
After regaining the capital, Nawa received an official coronation on June 19, 840. During her reign, she developed a policy of expanding and consolidating her power in order to achieve imperial goals. One such objective was to crush the rival Kekari branch of the Mungo family, one of the most powerful clans in the kingdom. A war raged over a period of two years, from 844 to 846, in which Nawa's forces defeated several Kekari armies and many smaller tribes. A second rebellion was suppressed at the Battle of Redmaiden Pass in 852. Despite the setbacks, during Queen Nawa's reign, royal dynasties in the capital became increasingly intertwined. However, royal legitimacy became unreliable when the main branch of the Mungo clan sought to unite with the Gogu dynasty. After much wrangling, the ruling of the kingdom fell to Nawa's husband Prince Hluba in 860, who would be given the title of king upon her death. The last years were generally full of festivities in Nawa's court, including lavish feasts and weddings at the palace. Nawa died in 869, leaving Hluba largely in control of court affairs. Hluba ruled as king until his death in 873, and was succeeded by his eldest son Tepu.
Tepu was far less popular within the royal court, and soon fell out of favor with the ruling class. Also, his well-intentioned attempts to reconcile Gogu and Mungo interests caused him to be disliked by some conservative members of his own family, including his grandfather Rama, who opposed the unification of the dynasties. In 886, after a lengthy negotiation, Tepu successfully persuaded both tribes to unite by marriage. He managed to appease the Gogu by granting their name to the new dynasty, although it would be inevitably dominated by those of Mungo lineage.
The Gogu-Mungo line produced three more kings. The first ruler to succeed Tepu was known as Tompun. He was a prominent figure in the royal court and a successful builder and governor during most of his life. He established a great temple complex called Kwegata on the Ngunla River near Yala. Omu, also an excellent builder, was his son and heir. Omu was murdered by an unknown assassin in 910, leaving the kingdom in crisis. Tepu's other son Jinjin, who was only a young boy at the time, was raised to the kingship and placed under a regency. He was given the affectionate name Kwiato ("Little King"). Kwiato would reign until 945, when he was deposed by the Tung Rebellion.